Here’s How I’m Taking Plastic Free July to The Next Level – Are You With Me?

Kate Hall

According to my calendar, Plastic Free July is on its way. Cue Plastic Free July blogs telling us how to avoid plastic water bottles and disposable coffee cups. Yawn.

Sure, these tricks are excellent ways to reduce your single-use plastic and don’t get me wrong, I do love a useful beginners guide to Plastic Free July. But to be honest, that’s totally two years ago.

This year, I’m taking Plastic Free July to the extreme.

I’m stretching several steps beyond your standard “no plastic bag please” and becoming a PFJ extremist. Why? Because I strongly believe we have purchasing power, and avoiding plastic at the shops will show food companies we want better packaging solutions.

Ethically Kate Plastic Free July

I still live in modern day society, so I’m being realistic and accepting that plastic will sneak up on me more than once during July, but heck; I’m going to try my best. I’m turning my eco-warrior dial up a notch. Are you with me?

6 ways to take Plastic Free July to the next level

1. Avoid metal cans & glass jars with plastic rims

A little birdy once told me that some cans are lined with a plastic coating. Although they can usually still be recycled, that plastic still existed so that I could have canned peaches on my buckwheat porridge. It’s not worth it.

Moving on from cans, what about the plastic that follows us to our glass jars too? That glass bottle of gluten-free soy sauce in my fridge had a little plastic strip I had to rip off to get the nozzle open. My jar of organic vegan aioli also had a thin plastic sheet around the rim. This month, I’m going to try my very best to avoid ALL plastic packaging. Instead, I’ll do things like making my aioli, remember to refill my soya sauce at the bulk bin store and use fresh fruits instead of canned.

2. Plastic Free Cleaners

I often see pictures of ‘eco-friendly’ cleaning products in thick plastic bottles. This feels ironic, don’t you think? I’m a big fan of the refill system, and when it comes to cleaners (I’ve never met a cleaner that has expired), it’s easy to buy these in bulk and refill every few months; perhaps even every year. I’ve been doing this for a few years now, but I have cleaning products that still need to make the switch.

3. Say no to receipts

In January 2018, a study found that 93% of receipts contain BPA or BPS. These two chemical compounds are used in the production of hard plastics. Do you know what that means? 9 out of 10 receipts contain plastic. They aren’t the innocent thin paper pieces we thought they were. During the month of July (and forever more!) I’ll be asking for digital receipts or avoiding them altogether.

4. No chewing gum

Most chewing gum contains plastic. I know it’s a disgusting thought, but it’s a reality, and it’s yuck for both you and the planet. I can’t remember the last time I bought gum, and I’ll be continuing my boycott throughout July.

5. Try not to eat out

Your delicious Indian curry may look plastic-free when you’re dining out with your mates, but you have no idea what went on behind those kitchen doors. The chef may have added each spice with a plastic spoon, and the naan bread in the center of your table could have been wrapped in individual plastic bags. Unless you have a fantastic local eco restaurant you trust, making your own food gives you more control over the plastic produced to make your meal. If you do order takeout, remember to bring your own takeaway containers to avoid those flimsy plastic ones.

6. Tell the world

Plastic Free July is tough when you’re a social human being. I’m considering staying indoors and becoming a hermit, but that would be too easy. I’ve chosen to be vocal about my mission to avoid plastic this month and get out and about. I’m going to be like that vegan friend who starts every sentence with ‘I’m vegan,’ but instead it will be ‘I’m doing Plastic Free July.’ We have no time to be sheepish and bashful about eco-friendly habits. If you’re not up to performing PFJ speeches across the dinner table, imagine your impact if you convinced just two friends to get on board?

I heard someone once say Plastic Free July was like Christmas time for Zero Wasters. It’s the month we have an excuse to share our plastic-free ways openly and watch as the rest of the world realises just how difficult it is to drop plastic addictions. I’m aware my extremist goals may set me up for dramatic failure, ridicule, and alienation, but I’m also aware that I’m not alone, and I’ve got a planet to protect.

This year, don’t do Plastic Free July half-heartedly. The world already knows plastic bags are dumb, and you’re great at remembering your reusable coffee mug. So, go the extra mile. Bite off more than you think you can chew, and chew it with force. Crank it up. Pick up the pace. You’ve got this.

Kate Hall

I live and breathe sustainable living and ethical fashion. This alternative way of consuming and existing dominates my every waking moment- and sometimes more. Ethical fashion and living are no longer my hobbies, it has become my mission... to change the future of fast fashion and the way we consume. My husband and I strive to live a zero-waste lifestyle, live at thrift stores, and always look to 'up-cycle' rather than throw out. Eco-living is not a choice for me, it's in my blood, and I am trying with all my power for it to be the new 'norm'.